Meals at full-service restaurants cost 4.3 percent more than a year ago and prices at fast food outlets soared by 6.6 percent, said the Labor Department's monthly report on inflation. The increases were the largest for either category since record-keeping began on them in 1996, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Americans are devoting less time to meals than they did a decade ago and waiting longer before eating them, according to two USDA analysts. The old idea of three meals a day applies to 21st century America only if you include food consumption that is secondary to something else, such as working or watching TV and movies.
A much-publicized report from the Centers for Disease Control released earlier this month found that more than a third of Americans eat fast food daily. But what wasn't included in the media coverage was that the study’s definition of "fast food" includes fast-casual restaurants, such as the custom-salad chain Sweetgreen, as well as coffee, bagel, and even ice cream shops. Such a broad definition, well beyond the burger-centric drive-through that the term "fast food" calls to mind, raises questions about how much the CDC data actually reveal about American eating habits.
Roughly 37 percent of U.S. adults eat fast food daily, says a CDC analysis of dietary data, but the rate is much higher for men and women aged 20-39 and for higher-income people. "Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium," says the CDC, which estimates adult Americans get 11 percent of their calories from fast food.
The omni-present polystyrene tray, a fixture in cafeteria and fast-food restaurants across the country, is almost too cheap to replace at 4 cents apiece. Yet the public schools in Philadelphia and Baltimore are switching to a molded-fiber compostable plate, made from recycled paper fibers, that is nearly as inexpensive at 5 cents each.
As Mexicans consume more calories, there is a debate whether free trade and foreign investment resulted in an epidemic of obesity or whether it reduced malnutrition by lowering food prices, says the New York Times. Fast food restaurants and convenience stores multiplied across Mexico as its economy grew in recent decades.
A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity "suggests that living in a food swamp — a neighborhood where fast food and junk food outlets outnumber healthy alternatives — is a stronger predictor of high obesity rates" than so-called food deserts with limited access to nutritious food, says ScienceBlog.
In the midst of a national cheese glut, a government-sponsored marketing group called Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is partnering with fast-food restaurants to encourage Americans to eat more cheese. Last year, farmers poured out 50 million gallons of milk because prices and demand were so low. As dairy consumption has dropped, DMI, which was behind the popular “Got Milk?” campaign, now spends much of its time sending experts into the secret product-creation rooms of chains like Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s.
Fast food regularly is blamed for contributing to rising obesity rates because it is typically high in fat and salt, says CNN’s The Conversation. And because it’s relatively inexpensive, poor people get the rap of eating too much fast food, though research shows all income groups enjoy a …
At a farm conference, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue likened his ideal of USDA service at its local offices to the service at the Chick-fil-A chain, which has been a target of criticism by gay-rights activists. Perdue described that ideal as a "what'll you have" greeting, convenient hours, "and a quality product with pleasure."
Gov. Larry Hogan stood aside and let a Maryland law take effect without his signature that will bar use of medically important antibiotics to promote weight gain among cattle, hogs and poultry. The Maryland law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, the same implementation date as a similar law enacted in 2015 in California, the only other state to control antibiotic use with the goal of preserving the effectiveness of the drugs to fight disease in humans.
The L.A. Times has named its first-ever Restaurant of the Year, but it didn’t go to the usual high-end suspects. Instead Locol — a burger restaurant started by renowned chefs to serve customers in Watts, where unemployment and gang violence are rampant — is the winner.
Making fast food faster? Nearly 200 McDonald’s restaurants in Orlando, Tampa and Miami will test home delivery of the company’s food beginning in January, says Fortune. “The company hopes to roll out worldwide mobile ordering by 2018, starting with leading markets including the United States, …
Forty percent of women working in fast food said they had experienced sexual harassment on the job, and 42 percent of those said they felt they had to accept the inappropriate treatment or else lose their jobs, according to a survey by Hart Research Associates.
Fast-food giant McDonald's, as part of updating its menu, will test smaller and bigger versions of its Big Mac across the nation in early 2017, says BuzzFeed. "Whether the new Macs are added permanently to the menu will depend on sales during the winter promotion."
In the more than two years since Subway was called out by a blogger for using azodicarbonamide, a chemical found in yoga mats and other non-food items, to make its bread dough lighter and stronger, a slew of fast-food chains have followed Subway’s lead and removed the chemical—but unlike Subway they’ve done it quietly, with little or no publicity, says Bloomberg.
Sodas, sweets and fast food are the most common choices when pop music stars endorse foods and beverages, says a study by New York University researchers, who blame the advertisements for contributing to teen obesity. "The vast majority of the food and beverage products ... are unhealthy," says the NYU Langone Medical Center, "Equally alarming, none of the music stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables or whole grains."
Fast-food giant McDonald's "has ended a controversial practice of giving nutrition advice to students in schools, pulling back on a program that critics said was a subtle form of fast-food marketing that could imperil kids' health and understanding of nutrition," reports the Washington Post.